Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Finding a future for Panmure House and the City Observatory

EWH is funding Conservation Statements for two buildings at risk in the World Heritage Site.

Feb 20, 2013

The plans for Panmure House in the Canongate and the City Observatory on Calton Hill, will help to find a sustainable future for these category A listed structures on the buildings at risk register.

In both cases the EWH funded Conservation Statement will be a key part of the process to bring these buildings back into use, collating research, assessing the significance of what survives, and setting out conservation policies to help with its future development.

Panmure House
A project headed by the Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University is underway to conserve and regenerate Panmure House, a rare survival of a late seventeenth century town mansion, located in the Canongate. The completion of the project will see the building become an international centre for economics, teaching and research, including a reading room and lecture space.

Panmure House was once the home of Adam Smith, a key figure of the Scottish Enlightenment and author of ‘The Wealth of Nations’. The Business School hope that, ‘…the house will become a centre for encouraging debate and learning through the sort of civilised interdisciplinary discussions for which Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment were celebrated’.

City Observatory
The City Observatory was designed by William Playfair and completed in 1822 for the Astronomical Institution. The plan is for the building to become an all year-round arts venue, open to the public on a permanent basis for the first time.

The purpose-built observatory was designed to be used for scientific work and also provide a time service for Edinburgh and the Port of Leith. It is a key feature in the landscape, sitting on the crest of Calton Hill. The Observatory is in need of repair and has been empty for a number of years, but the new plan is for the building to be used by the Collective Gallery.

The Collective Gallery is currently located on Cockburn Street, and hope to use the City Observatory as an exhibition space for the arts. Two exhibition rooms and an outdoor events space are proposed. As part of their fund-raising programme, an auction of works by a number of artists will be held on Thursday 14 March 2013 at 6.30pm at Lyon and Turnbull in central Edinburgh.

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